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Your Electric Meter is Your Credit Card

You’ve heard a million times that “Time is Money.”  Yes.  But here’s another one:  “Energy is Money.”

Think about it.  Every electron and every drop of gasoline you use costs money.  The bank or the Federal Reserve (depending on who you ask) creates money and passes it around, just like energy is created at power plants and sent to your building through transmission lines.  Our energy supply fluctuates but has natural limits, just like the money supply.  And here’s the kicker … we can either spend our energy recklessly, or we can save it.  Do you manage your electric meter the same way that you manage your credit card?  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

I love my credit card.  I have a credit card that pays me points to their store, so when I use it, I can get a new pair of hiking boots every year “for free”.  My credit card is nice because whenever I want to go out to lunch (which is far too often), I can just walk in and slide my card and not think about it very much.  Do you think about your credit card purchases, or do you just make them?  When you flip on a light switch or fire up that 65” plasma screen TV, do you think about how much energy you are buying?  If you’re like me, you just enjoy the show.

Once a month, we get the bill for the previous month’s purchases.  “Whoa, why was my bill so high last month?”  That electric meter kept spinning and my credit card kept swiping.  We pay off that balance every month so that we don’t get hit with finance charges or have the lights turned off for good.

So how do we bring that bill down?  Three things jump to mind:  1) pay attention, 2) do some planning, and 3) make good investments.

First rule of not blowing your budget:  pay attention to what you are buying.  Resist the temptation to buy another Mocha Coconut Frappuccino® coffee (DON’T click the link!  Don’t do it!).  And pay attention to your energy usage.  Turn off the lights and the TV.  Go out and play!  It has ancillary benefits anyway.

Second rule:  do some financial / energy planning and understand what you need to buy and what you need to spend.  Make a budget.  Figure out how you can get groceries more cheaply.  Buy some fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs to save energy and money.  Get around to installing that weather stripping around the door and caulking around that leaky window (you know the one I’m talking about!).

And third:  make some intelligent long-term investments.  Consult your financial advisor about how to deploy your savings in stocks, bonds, and stuffed mattresses.  Consult THURSTON ENERGY on how to best invest in your home or business with an energy efficient heating system or another layer of insulation.  These investments pay dividends over time and help secure your future.

So what is the ultimate end game?  A brave few get to the point of cutting up their credit cards and going it alone.  Personally, I think a well-managed credit card is worth it for the new hiking boots.  But if you are the card-cutting type … dream about Solar Panels and cutting up your credit card by getting off the grid!  Just don’t try to buy groceries with a PV panel.